SBD/11/Franchises

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  • BENGALS KEEPING THEIR STRIPES IN CINCINNATI

         In what Bengals and Hamilton County officials call the
    completion of the "third quarter" in stadium negotiations, the
    Bengals have agreed to stay in Cincinnati through the 2025 season
    and contribute $44-48M toward a new stadium, according to Anne
    Michaud of THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER.  The team will occupy the new
    facility by August 1, 2000.  The agreement "sets in motion"
    finding an architect, but doesn't set a location for the new
    facility.  The deal calls for the team contributions to come from
    $20-24M in PSL revenue, $5M from the sale of naming rights,
    $11.7M in rent over nine years, and $4M in ticket surcharges.
    The 20-page memo of understanding also includes: a promise that
    the team will not enter into any contract to play elsewhere
    without permission from the county; the team can not apply to the
    NFL to relocate; all parking, concession and ticket revenue goes
    to the team; the county is responsible for maintenance and
    upkeep; the team must sell 80% of their luxury boxes for ten
    seasons and sell 50,000 season tickets by April 30, 1997, or
    "they can walk away from the deal."  The county must sell $20M in
    PSLs by the April '97 date or the team can get out of the deal.
    The Bengals have the exclusive right to bring in a pro soccer
    team for the first ten years of the agreement (CINCINNATI
    ENQUIRER, 9/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Franchises, NFL
  • COUNTDOWN BACK ON IN HOUSTON? VA BASEBALL PONDERS OPTIONS

         Astros Owner Drayton McLane says he will decide by the end
    of the week whether to put his team up for sale, but has publicly
    asked to first meet with Houston Mayor Bob Lanier to discuss his
    situation, according to John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.
    McLane has said if he cannot strike a stadium deal in Houston, he
    will resume negotiations with VA Baseball Inc., who last year
    offered a reported $160M for the Astros.  Meanwhile, Houston
    Property Rights Association President Barry Klein, a local
    opponent of publicly subsidized stadiums, said he will not
    legally challenge a November 5 ballpark referendum approved two
    weeks ago.  Klein is, however, organizing a political action
    committee to oppose the referendum (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/11).  In
    D.C., Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST reports the Astros and
    Harris County officials are "inching closer" to a stadium funding
    plan that would keep the team in Houston.  Negotiations continue
    to focus on McLane's contribution to the project and which party
    would be responsible for cost overruns.  Astros Senior
    VP/Business Operations Bob McClaren: "Hopefully, we can get an
    understanding in the next few days" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11).
    Noting Houston's civic and political leaders have "started to get
    together," ESPN's Peter Gammons said "things look very good" for
    the Astros and Harris County to come to a stadium deal possibly
    "as early as this week" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 9/10).
         VA BASEBALL NEWS:  The POST's Maske reports that VA Baseball
    "plans to abandon" its effort to secure a MLB franchise for the
    Northern VA/Washington area if it is not awarded a team by the
    end of '97.  Maske also cites sources within VA Baseball who note
    the group has made "renewed inquiries" about the status of the
    Pirates and Expos (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11).  But VA Baseball Exec
    VP Mike Scanlon told THE DAILY the Post story "needed
    clarification" in that the organization has made "no
    determinations" about its post-'97 future and that "no decisions
    and no deadlines will be made without talking with Major League
    Baseball first." Scanlon added the group's "long-term strategy"
    is to get a team, "one way or the other" (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Houston Astros, MLB, Pittsburgh Pirates, Walt Disney
  • FRANCHISE NOTES

         ESPN's Peter Gammons, on the A's cutting ticket and parking
    prices to lure fans back to the Oakland Coliseum:  "League
    officials said that when the Coliseum forced the A's to open
    their season in Las Vegas [during renovation at the Coliseum for
    the Raiders], it was a violation of their lease, and the A's are
    now free to move anywhere they want, anytime -- to Sacramento,
    when they build a ballpark" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/10)....The
    Cavaliers are taking advantage of hosting the '97 NBA All-Star
    Game along with being the only pro franchise in town this fall by
    offering a variety of new ticket plans and "inducements."  Cavs
    VP/Sales & Marketing Jim Kahler:  "With football being gone, we
    have a window of opportunity for three seasons.  We want to get
    people who invested their money with the Browns" (CRAIN'S
    CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 9/15 issue)....The financially troubled CFL
    Ottawa Rough Riders will finish the season as the franchise
    announced they have met its goal of 40,000 tickets sold for its
    final four home games.  It also raised C$260,000 in corporate
    sponsorships, C$110,000 more than a minimum amount needed to stay
    in business (TORONTO SUN, 9/10)....Nashville columnist David
    Climer, on Dick Evans' departure from Gaylord Entertainment to
    become CEO at Huizenga Holdings:  "[Evans] was MVP for
    Nashville's emerging sports marketplace. ... [His] departure ...
    is like Michael Jordan signing with the Knicks for 10 kazillion
    and leaving Chicago" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/8).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CFL, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN, Franchises, NBA, New York Knicks, Oakland Athletics, Oakland Raiders, Walt Disney
  • NATIONSBANK DEAL TO HAVE RAMIFICATIONS FOR ST. LOUIS SCENE?

         NationsBank's $9B acquisition of Boatmen's Bancshares Inc.
    could have an effect on the Blues, Kiel Center, Rams and
    Cardinals, according to Josh Gotthelf of the ST. LOUIS BUSINESS
    JOURNAL.  Boatmen's, which contributed an estimated $2.9M into
    the Blues and Kiel Center in '95, is one of the "Big Four"
    members of the Kiel Center Partners, holding about a 12% stake in
    the arena and the club.  The other members are Anheuser-Busch,
    Emerson Electric and Southwestern Bell and together, the four
    control almost 50% of the group, while 15 other member companies
    hold remaining shares.  This past spring, Boatmen's signed a
    multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with the Cardinals to
    remain a major sponsor of the team.  The agreement includes
    signage, luxury boxes, group ticket packages, scoreboard
    advertising, radio and TV broadcast sponsorship and the right to
    place ATM's throughout Busch Stadium.  Boatmen's is also a "gold
    level" sponsor with the Rams and the bank is in the second year
    of a five-year deal in which it pays "well into six figures" for
    a large signage package at the TWA Dome, commercials on the
    stadium scoreboard, a luxury suite and the right to run
    promotions during the game.  Further, the bank is a member of
    Civic Progress, a civic group that has guaranteed the Rams
    revenue from at least 85% of luxury suites and club seats.
    NationsBank Senior VP Jim Nash noted the bank's role in the Kiel
    Partners "won't be known" until the Boatmen's deal is
    consummated.  However, he said the bank plans to honor prior
    Boatmen's prior commitments to the Cardinals and Rams (ST. LOUIS
    BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/9).  FEELING THE BLUES?  Calling this a
    "make-or-break" season for Blues President Jack Quinn and GM/Head
    Coach Mike Keenan, Tom Wheatley of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    examines how the departure of Wayne Gretzky and trade rumors
    involving Brett Hull have effected ticket renewal rates.
    According to Blues VP/Sales Bruce Affleck, last year the club
    sold about 14,000 season tickets and 90% have been renewed for
    '96-97, compared to 92% the year before and 94-95% in previous
    years (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Bank of America, Franchises, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Rams
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